All right, folks, we will venture outside our comfort zones here and talk about a little thing we like to call: periods. Let’s get the “ew’s” and “grosses” out of the way first. I will give you a moment to collect yourself.

Yep, periods are a biological part of life, like breathing, digesting, and the many other wonders that make up the human body. I get it, my friends, it is foreign to you, but do you think we, as women enjoy dealing with this monthly? Of course not! So next time you gag at a tampon, remember that it affects the woman more than it has ever involved you. Be respectful, and I promise it is not that hard.

Dana Marlowe, the founder of the not-for-profit organization I Support The Girls, says, “Periods don’t stop for (insert ANY event here). ” She is right; they don’t! While there are resources like birth control to combat that, those resources are not cheap or the best option for everyone. It is a case-by-case situation as each body is different – surprise! Think about the current homeless crisis. I am sure you have heard of the tent villages that have sadly become commonplace in big cities. Netflix released a documentary on homelessness on the West Coast entitled, Lead Me Home. This is a great place to start. Watch the documentary, and then imagine that on a national and even global scale. These issues are not unique to the West Coast of the United States.

After you finish that, watch the Oscar-winning short documentary Period—end of Sentence from director Rayka Zehtabchi. The film follows women in an impoverished village near Dehli, India, who fight the stigma around periods as they begin to provide sanitary pads to the women of their town. If you think menstruation is taboo in the West, you will be shocked to see how stigmatized it is in the East. Unfortunately, the stigma is much worse for those in the Eastern hemisphere. Often viewed as an embarrassment, and as a result, they use unsanitary methods to cope. I highly recommend this film which can be seen on Netflix as well. Finally, if you still are interested, try watching the new Pixar film starring Sandra Oh, Turning Red, which is a cute coming-of-age film about girls getting their periods. It would also be a great way to introduce younger girls to the topic. If people receive resources, including toiletries, from donations, shouldn’t women’s sanitary products be included? YES, of course, they should. This can be found on Disney Plus.

The real issue here is the stigma around periods and puberty; it is so “hush, hush” that it leaves no woman untouched. In a Human Sexuality course I took for my Psychology degree, we viewed (to my delight) a John Oliver episode clip (shown below). The clip was on sexual education in the United States. Of course, it was funny. However, the facts were a bit scary. Fast facts: “…no required standard for sexual education in the United States, of that only 22 states require students to be educated, and only 13 states require that the instruction be medically accurate…” Oh yes, you read that correctly. If you are confused, join the club! What the heck are we doing providing kids with dated or inaccurate information on sex education? You may as well not do it if you give them the wrong information. How is that fair or helpful? It is not. Whether we are comfortable with it or not, kids deserve to know about the changes in their bodies, the birds, and the bees. This does not have to be encouraging for kids to have sex, but they need to be aware of safety, like what female products to use or not use.

Again, I know menstruation is a taboo topic, but why? It is simply a biological function of the female body. How can we help that? We can start by looking out for our fellow females and remembering to donate female products and other needed items. This shortage puts extra pressure on shelters or other organizations already running low on products. For more ideas on how to help, listen to the upcoming podcast featuring an I Support the Girls representative. Then visit I Support the Girls online to learn how to get started in your area! It doesn’t have to be the sexual revolution to provide accurate information about puberty. Come on now!